In a surprise appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast in Austin, Texas, comedian Dave Chappelle spoke candidly about COVID-19 restrictions, vaccinations, and the idea of trust in the era of the coronavirus.
In the episode released on Thursday, Rogan, Chappelle, and comedian Donnell Rawlings shared a wide-ranging conversation discussing the implications of the coronavirus lockdowns on the mental health of people in the United States.
Chappelle said the pandemic feels never-ending, comparing it to a stand-up comedian who runs over his or her set time.
“They gave us an early estimate of two weeks,” Chappelle said. “This is how a comedian does it, when a comedian is doing a real long set, and he goes, ‘One last thing before I go,’ and then he does that four or five times, and you realize, ‘This guy is gonna do another five hours,'” Chappelle said. “That’s what the quarantine felt like. Two more weeks, three more weeks, maybe we’ll open bars and stuff, that kind of shit.”
Chappelle said there is a “philosophical debate” surrounding elements of the coronavirus, such as lockdown measures and the possibility of mandatory vaccinations.
The comedian recalled a day in March when everything seemed to change suddenly in the U.S. during the onset of the pandemic. He said he was walking out to perform a stand-up routine and, for the first time ever, was worried about shaking hands with fan members because of the coronavirus.
“They scared the shit out of me,” Chappelle said, referring to the media. “My behavior almost changed immediately.”
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Rogan agreed with Chappelle and recalled the first time he considered not shaking a person’s hand because of the virus.
Rogan, who openly questioned California’s strict lockdowns before moving his family to Austin this summer, said he is open to taking a coronavirus vaccination if “it works” and explained how the emerging coronavirus vaccinations work, according to a conversation he had with Yale professor Nicholas Christakis on an episode of the show earlier in the week.
“If I feel that the doctors have all gotten their opinions behind it,” Rogan said. “You know what it is? It’s like an mRNA vaccine, this new vaccine, it makes your body think that, it doesn’t introduce actual COVID into your system and you fight it off, it makes your body think that it’s COVID, and your body builds the proper proteins to build it off.”
Chappelle touched on the topic of masks before suggesting that COVID-19 is an “accelerant” that is forcing people to consider the choices they have made in life thus far.
“In masks, it feels like we’re rewriting our social contracts, you know? The whole thing,” Chappelle said. “And COVID is an accelerate on this process that I could’ve never imagined. They’re locked inside. People are stuck in a house with their choices. Do you like your house? Do you like who you’re with? Do you like these things you’ve accumulated? I hope you like them because you’re stuck with them.”
Rogan remarked that he could have “never expected” that large parts of the country would be “still kind of locked down.”
Rogan defended the use of vaccines throughout history and noted how consequential a vaccination was in the eradication of smallpox.
Chappelle suggested that people aren’t necessarily anti-vaccination but that they have questions about the experts and sources used to build the infrastructure of the coronavirus response.
“At [the] core of this issue is trust,” Chappelle said. “Do you trust these sources? And people realize they’re at the mercy of people they don’t necessarily trust. That’s the rub.”